Brutalism in web design: hoping it is not a forever trend


Is brutal, ugly web design the hottest trend? I certainly hope not, but this article makes us take a second (in horror) look.

Tell me it isn’t so, please. It’s too early in 2017 to be confronted with this Washington Post piece (from 2016) with a headline that reads: The hottest trend in Web design is making intentionally ugly, difficult sites.

The piece continues to quote Pascal Deville, creative director at a Swiss ad agency, as naming the school of design that emphasizes ugly as “Web brutalism”.  To be exact, this Web brutalism school emphasizes flashing colors, irregular spacing and a unique typeface (usually not pretty)!

I have seen ugly design many times during my long four-decades plus career (remember I have spent many of those years teaching), but it was never intentionally designed that way.

That is what makes Web brutalism interesting: the designers apparently work hard and enthusiastically to abandon a sense of popular aesthetics, creating something that is originally ugly.

I let you read the article and explore Web brutalism-inspired sites on your own, starting with Craiglist, which Deville describes as “totally a brutalistic website…and commercially, very successful.”

One thing stands out in all of these “brutally” designed websites: one’s first impression is that of simplicity, as if the designers are shy about what they are presenting, and, all of them include one or two items that are visually interesting, even when not properly utilized.

Perhaps Web brutalism could be the starting point of creating a new design, but, of course, editing the brutal parts before the final design is launched. 
A good thought for the start of the year.

Mario Garcia1 Comment